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Department of Philosophy & Social Studies
University of Crete
Campus of Rethymnon
74100 Rethymno

Phone number: ++30 2831077211/15/16
Fax number:++30 2831077222

Phenomenology and Ancient Greek Philosophy: Reappraisal and Renewal

June 27-29, 2010
Rethymnon, Crete

The conference will be held at the Cultural Centre: Xenia
(str. ad.: Sofokli Venizelou 16)

Among both phenomenologists and scholars of ancient Greek philosophy, it is a well-known fact that the originators of 20th century phenomenology, Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger, understand phenomenological philosophy as having a special relation with the thought that originated in Greece two and a half thousand years before. This fact, of course, does not also mean that there is a mutual agreement between these two groups of philosophers on the legitimacy and the relevance of the phenomenological understanding of the ancient Greek philosophy.

Time and again, for instance, scholars of ancient Greek philosophy have openly disagreed with the readings of the Pre-Socratics, Plato, and Aristotle presented in the works of Heidegger. Nonetheless, he continuously tried to decipher in ancient Greek philosophical thinking the most profound sources of the history of the understanding of Being that still underpin the foundations upon which Europe and the modern world rest.

Husserl’s phenomenology, in contrast, offers not so much a sustained interpretation and retrieval of ancient Greek philosophy but the attempt to establish a philosophical science by employing the central ancient Greek philosophical concepts, such as eidos, noesis, noêma, idea, essence, category, etc., to express the findings of phenomenological research. Additionally, the last period of his thought is characterized by a historical reflection on the post First World War and pre Second World War crisis in European sciences and culture that traces the origin and meaning of European philosophy to its primal establishment in ancient Greece.

On the other hand, Max Scheler attempted to establish the existence of an ideal realm of values, to interpret anew the meaning of the tragic, and establish the content of a non-formal ethics that seems to maintain a close relation to Aristotle’s virtue ethics. And, likewise, Hans-Georg Gadamer, from the beginning to the end of his philosophical activity, situated his phenomenologically informed philosophical hermeneutics in terms of the critical engagement and appropriation of Plato and Aristotle. Jan Patocka, as well, is known for his endeavor to bring together phenomenological philosophy, political thinking, and thematics in ancient Greek philosophy.

As a rule, phenomenological scholarship has attempted to clarify the understanding of ancient Greek philosophy offered by phenomenology’s founders. Nevertheless, it seems that the time is ripe for a reappraisal of the relation between phenomenological philosophy and ancient Greek Philosophy by a new generation of phenomenologists. In the critical times that we now live, in a milieu where the calling for a new life-paradigm keeps growing louder and louder, contemporary phenomenologists are bound by the responsibility to think critically on the current situation and its history. This is the task of thinking and elucidating anew the relationship of phenomenological philosophy and ancient Greek philosophy. The practical realization of this task may guide a revitalizing understanding of the current state of phenomenological philosophy in relation to its ancient Greek inspirations. It also promises to set this revitalized phenomenological philosophy at the vanguard of the effort to elaborate the meaning of emergency characterizing the current situation and to prepare the ground for its possible overcoming.

Here is the final list of the speakers:

John Sallis (Boston College, USA)
Thomas Szlezák (University of Tübingen, Germany)
Walter Brogan (Villanova University, USA)
Burt Hopkins (Seattle University, USA)
James Risser (Seattle University, USA)
Jakub Capek (Charles University, Czech Rep.)
Tanja Stähler (University of Sussex, UK)
Pavlos Kontos (University of Patras, Greece)
Panagiotis Thanasas (University of Thessalonica, Greece)
Kakolyris Gerasimos (University of Athens, Greece)
Christos Hadjioannou (University of Sussex, UK)
Susi Ferrarello (University of Rome, Italy)
Panos Theodorou (University of Crete, Greece)

Final Program (.pdf format)

For further information send an email to Panos Theodorou (pantheo@fks.uoc.gr),
Tel. GR-28310 57191, mob. 6936333750.